Originally posted by prosoccer
This is something that has puzzled me for a while, where does the small 'floating' c in some names such as McDougall or McCarthy come from and what is it called? You can't make the c go above the other letters on the computer but when you write some names by hand that is what you do.
I don't know what it is called, but the Mc is an abbreviation of the gaelic "mac" meaning son. McDougal=MacDougal=Son of Dougal.
The reason that the c is put into superscript is because it is an abbreviation, a bit like when "numbers" is abbreviated to N°. This is derived from the first and last letters of the French "numero".